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Long-term review

Volkswagen ID4 Family Pro Performance - long term review

£46,035/£49,400 as tested / £657pcm
Published: 30 May 2022
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    ID4 Family Pro Performance

  • Range

    317 miles

  • ENGINE

    1cc

  • BHP

    204bhp

  • 0-62

    8.5s

How is the VW ID4's range?

This is the fourth electric long-term-test car I've run. So it's not immodest to say I've accrued useful experience of plugged-in life. The ID.4 has exactly the same tech spec – battery capacity and motor power, as well as almost identical overall mass and drag – as the Skoda Enyaq being run by my colleague Andy Franklin. That's his first EV.

Andy began his (dread reality-TV phrase) 'electric car journey' in exactly the same way as I did with the first EV I ran, a Jaguar I-Pace. Baffled how its apparent range is so much less than the WLTP figure, and anxious when the battery runs below about a quarter of capacity.

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In his first few recharges with the Enyaq he thought he was getting 190 miles range. The ID.4 has consistnetly given me 245-plus from the same battery.

Now this is partly to do with driving style, and he's explained this (he was misled into using regenerative braking instead of anticipation, and probably was too generous with cabin air heat rather than using heated seats). But it's also because he was spooked by the ghastly inaccuracy of the range-to-go readout, so was afraid to drop below about 20 per cent state of charge.

Whereas I never look at the range-to-go readout, and only the battery percentage. And I'm quite happy to plan my journeys and amend my driving style so as to get home with less than 5 per cent.

For instance the other day I went from my place in London to Bath and back. That's 230 miles, so I was confident. Yes, even though the bulk of the trip is motorway, the sort of going that erodes EV range. Sure enough I got there, doing slightly less that 70mph on the clear motorway with the readout at 60 per cent.

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So on the way home I drove with a bit more vigour. As I passed Swindon, 90 miles to go, the ID.4's miles-to-go readout said I had 80 miles range remaining, and its nav redirected me to a set of Ionity chargers where it said I must recharge for an hour.

Now, even if it was true that I was going to run short, I wouldn't need an hour's charging, but only 10 minutes or so to give me a 20-mile cushion to get home.

Besides which, I knew perfectly well I'd need no extra cushion at all because for the whole remaining trip I'd either be in motorway roadworks with 50mph average speed cameras, or the A40 arterial into London, which has rigidly enforced 50mph and 40mph and 30mph limits.

So I ignored the rangeometer's pessimism, and ignored the satnav's injunction to charge. I drove home entirely relaxed. Got there with 8 per cent charge remaining, or 25 miles to spare. Equating to 255 miles range.

So then Mr VW, if your car is so clever, why can't its range-to-go meter take account of the upcoming speed limits of the roads, which the satnav does know about? And why does it base its timings on stopping for a full charge when, even if you do need a top-up, you'd need only what petrol racers would call a splash'n'dash?

Small wonder electric cars freak out new drivers.

By the way, the ID.4 was entirely comfy on that trip, but if you want charisma it comes with the gorgeous Citroen DS conversion by Electrogenic that I drove the following week. Here's a picture of the ID.4 being used as tracking car for photographer Mark Fagelson. You can read about the Citroen here.

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